Hey all! I hope everyone had a great Halloween (or baring that, just a great weekend). I’ve always found this holiday intriguing, both from its unusual roots and how my appreciation for it has changed over the years. The past few Halloweens I only put a passing effort into dressing up, but this year I decided it was time to try a little harder.
My inspiration, oddly enough, came from a random viewing of Kill Bill Vol. II on TV. When I tuned in it was at the part where Beatrix Kiddo was getting dropped off to study with the notorious Pei Mei. For those who might not be familiar the movies, Pei Mei is one of Bill’s primary martial arts instructors, and is renowned for being both cruel and unusual in his training methods. Despite the virtually guaranteed unpleasantness, Kiddo decides to train under him anyway in hopes of achieving some of the same skills Bill possesses.
I’ve always loved this part of the movie, and was inspired to do my best to dress up as Pei Mei this year!
Do I strike fear in your heart? Does your blood run cold at the thought of crossing me? There’s no shame in it.
Also, yes – that IS the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique I am about to perform. shortly after this photo was taken I laid waste to all in attendance.
Getting the wig and facial hair on was pretty annoying…but well worth it. This costume also gave me a great excuse to buy kung fu shoes; something I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t find a proper excuse. They are terribly comfortable!
For your continued amusement (and mine), here is a clip of the real Pei Mei being awesome:
Happy Halloween and feel free to include links to your costume in the comments below!
Do you remember the video where a man was forced to defend himself on his own porch step? That was a pretty serious self defense situation, and since it was caught on tape we had a chance to watch the man’s mental decision process as he ultimately decided to use physical force to protect himself.
This week a different video was sent to me, and I think you are going to enjoy it.
This clip comes from a TV Show somewhere in Belgium. It is a candid camera program that annoys people in obnoxious ways (standard affair really). One fateful evening the show decided to visit a mall and harass local shoppers. The ‘host’ proceeded to throw a net on a man, taunt him, and then run away. Unfortunately, to bystanders, it looked as if he was either robbing or accosting the local shopper. One bystander in particular didn’t take kindly to that kind of criminal activity.
Check it out –
That kick was huge. I don’t like to glorify violence, but I do appreciate good technique.
From a martial arts perspective, it is clear that the individual in the striped shirt studies a form of Savate, Tae Kwon Do, or other such style. Clearly his training has not been for waste because he hit a moving target right on the money. Of course…that target didn’t see it coming…which brings us to the moral catch-22 of this video.
The Civil Assistance Conundrum
The big, $50 question to come out of this video is: Was that man right in using violence to defuse the situation?
Let’s look at it first from the kicker’s perspective. Somewhere behind him he hears a tussle. When he glances back he sees a shady looking individual sprinting away and another man chasing him angrily. From the context clues he assesses that the man trying to escape is some sort of robber (a scene all too familiar with many people that live in cities) or vandal. With a grand total of 2-3 seconds to consider his actions, he decides not to let the criminal get away with it. He then proceeds to utilize a non-lethal yet damaging technique to floor the ‘bad guy’.
Part of me applauds him for his quick thinking and desire to help make the world a little more scum-free. It takes courage and conviction to step in and aid your fellow man. Furthermore, his technique selection was probably a good one – if he tried to tackle the guy, he ran the risk of getting stabbed or shot while tussling. If he tried to stand in the bad guy’s way non-violently he would have gotten bowled over or pushed aside.
Unfortunately, as we see in this video, quick acts of effective violence are sometimes misplaced. As it turns out, there was no theft occurring, and the man in the leather jacket was angry and loud because he was annoyed at the childish prank pulled on him. The striped-shirt-kicker made a big leap in judgment assuming that the man trying to escape was both a.) a perpetrator of crime, and b.) the actual bad guy in the situation (he might have been trying to escape a bad situation himself).
Furthermore, the kicker took the law into his own hands and introduced violence into a non-violent situation. In a crowded mall like that, it is very possible to grab the attention of nearby security and alert the authorities to a crime in progress. In most large shopping centers there is both mall security and real law enforcement officials nearby.
It’s amazing how one well-placed kick to the face can really put a modern day issue into perspective. In times past the kicker’s actions would have been unquestionably justified and celebrated, as law enforcement could not possibly have arrived in time. However we live in a legislative, hands-off world where we have to weigh our role as citizens with that of the moral obligation to help others.
Where do you stand on this situation? Would have stepped in to help (and do you think you would have had the quick-response-instinct to do so?)
“After UFC 103, Vitor Belfort gave credit to karate (and Jesus– a natural pairing) for his immaculate victory over former UFC champ, Rich Franklin. No surprise there, since “The Phenom” has been training in karate for years and has close ties with Lyoto Machida, the mixed martial arts Messiah of karate.” – Dom Velando
A couple of months ago I wrote a post about Lyoto Machida, wherein I explained my fanhood for him, and how it wasn’t just me – Machida’s popularity has been consistently growing over the past 8-9 months. One of the main reasons why is Machida’s karate-inspired fighting style. His traditional background (along with a black belt in BJJ) is making big waves throughout the MMA community. How could it not – the guy has yet to lose a round.
These days it seems that karate is branching out, and the latest person to do the branching is Vitor Belfort. Belfort is a recently returned UFC fighter who has been studying karate for years. Many analysts are remarking at Belfort’s excellent control of distance and timing, and how he seems to have a natural sense of space. People are also commenting on the speed and directness of his counterattacks after making other fighters waffle and miss.
This may all sound familiar to UFC fans because those are the exact qualities that are granting Machida so much success.
To watch the Belfort fight (it only lasts one round), click here or below:
Due to his impressive win, Belfort is slated to fight Anderson Silva, aka, the guy so good that he makes champions look like raw beginners. Although UFC fans are pining for a Machida-v-Silva matchup, it looks like Belfort is going to have to do instead (both Machida and Silva have declared friendship with one another and a strong desire not to fight).
The most interesting thing to come out of these recent events is a raised eyebrow about karate from MMA fans and fighters. We’ve all been so overexposed by crappy, watered-down karate that seeing good karate in action is both intriguing and confusing. Fighters like Machida and Belfort are also doing karateka a service because they are showing the value of arts like BJJ, and how it isn’t a sin to be well-rounded and open to outside concepts.
Very interesting developments! Pay attention everyone because these are the things that slowly shape the martial arts realm right underneath our noses.